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Green Party fails to meet deadline for naming presidential electors

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Arizonans who don’t like the other choices for president this year won’t get a chance to vote instead for the Green Party nominee.

The secretary of state’s office said Tuesday the party had not met the June 1 deadline for nominating electors for the Nov. 8 election. Those are the people who will come to the Capitol following the election to cast the state’s 11 electoral votes for the Green Party candidate were that person to get the most votes here.

The party holds its national convention in August in Houston. Jill Stein, who won the Arizona primary in March, is the presumptive nominee.

But all that is irrelevant under state law. Instead, it requires whoever chairs each recognized party to choose 11 electors no later than 90 days ahead of the primary election.

That deadline passed at 5 p.m. June 1. And while the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties all managed to submit a slate, the Green Party was conspicuous by its absence.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Michele Reagan said there is no legal way to waive the deadline, with the only option now for the Green Party to seek a court order.

Maritza Broce, one of the co-chairs of the party, said late Tuesday she understood the issue was being handled by fellow co-chair Angel Torres. He did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

But the failure effectively means there is no chance for Arizona to cast its electoral votes for the Green  Party nominee, even if that person outpolls Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

The Green Party, with just 4,480 registered voters out of more than 3.35 million in the state, has had a history of problems in Arizona meeting deadlines.

In 2013 then-Secretary of State Ken Bennett noted the party had just 5,601 registrants, only a quarter of what it needed to keep its ballot status. So he declared the party ineligible.

The law does allow a party to requalify by gathering petitions with more than 23,000 valid signatures. But the party did not meet the Feb. 27, 2014, deadline and had no official candidates in that year’s election.

It finally did requalify for the 2016 election and has candidates in one congressional and several legislative races. The failure to meet the deadline for naming electors does not affect those races.

Generally speaking, the meeting of Arizona electors is a pretty staid affair, usually occurring about a month after balloting at the secretary of state’s office. But there have been exceptions.

In 2012 the 11 Republican electors formally cast their votes for Mitt Romney — but not before three of them, including the state party chairman, said questions remain about whether President Obama is a natural-born citizen.

“I’m not satisfied with what I’ve seen,’’ said Tom Morrissey, then the GOP chairman, after signing the formal paperwork to cast his Electoral College vote for Romney. “I think for somebody in the president’s position to not have produced a document that looks more legitimate, I have a problem with that.’’

Morrissey along with John Rhodes, another GOP elector, also specifically used Obama’s middle name, Hussein, in their public comments.

One comment

  1. To be fair, thanks to the rules promulgated by the two-wings of the One Big Political Club (democrats/republicans), Arizona is one of the hardest states in the Union for a party NOT in the club to get and maintain ballot status…

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Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett certifies the 2014 primary election canvass on Sept. 8, 2014. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

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